Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of this epic myth of the Nyanga people.
In the restored village of Tubondo, with all the dead brought back to life by Mwindo it was at last time to pass judgment on the captured Shemwindo. In some versions of the Mwindo Epic the semidivine hero sits upon a throne made of spears as if deciding the fate of prisoners of war. Other versions claim Mwindo’s friend Nkuba the lightning god sent down copper chairs for Mwindo and his Aunt Iyangura to sit on while judging the former Chief Shemwindo.
Still other versions depict Iyangura’s husband Mukiti the river god sitting alongside Mwindo and Iyangura as they decide Shemwindo’s fate. Some versions claim the trio floated in the air in the copper chairs provided by Nkuba.
Every citizen of the village, royal and otherwise, crowded around, struggling to observe the proceedings. Mwindo stated the list of Shemwindo’s crimes with corroboration from Iyangura and others.
When called upon to speak for himself Shemwindo showed the first reasonable behavior he had displayed so far in the storyline. He confessed to every evil he had committed and begged the people of Tubondo to make his son Mwindo the new chief. After that he would submit to whatever punishment was decided upon.
Mwindo was moved by this first display of selfless behavior on the part of his father. He told the assembled counselors and nobility that he would be fine with them dividing the village into two, with his father ruling one half and he himself ruling the other half. Upon his father’s death he would assume control over a reunified Tubondo.
The point of this proposal from Mwindo is that he is further maturing, abandoning his own desire for vengeance on Shemwindo in the name of what is best for his people. The nobles and the counselors also recognized the wisdom of Mwindo’s recommendation. Partisans who still supported Shemwindo would be dissuaded from sowing discord under Mwindo’s plan.
It was decided that Shemwindo would rule Lesser Tubondo on the lower hill while Mwindo ruled Greater Tubondo on the higher hill. Per the semidivine hero’s plan Shemwindo would face no punishment and all his crimes would be forgiven.
Three days of preparation followed for Mwindo’s coronation as Chief. To further ensure peace Shemwindo himself would bestow the regal paraphernalia upon his son, thus forever forfeiting any right to challenge his son for the Chieftaincy.
On Coronation Day Mwindo, flanked by Iyangura and his mother Nyamwindo, was named the Chief of Greater Tubondo. Shemwindo personally adorned his son with a Chief’s red-dyed frock and red belts, butea to wear on his arms and legs, a ncambi belt and kataba belt plus a kembo hat.
The seven counselors who would make up Chief Mwindo’s “cabinet” led the procession bringing in the throne sprinkled with ukaru powder and castor oil (yes, castor oil). Chief Mwindo sat down upon the throne and Shemwindo handed him the copper scepter of power.
Next Shemwindo gave Mwindo the ceremonial bow and arrow and had a delegation of Pygmies come forward so he could officially transfer their loyalty from himself to his son. (The Pygmies were regarded in a nearly superstitious way by the Nyanga. The Nyanga Chiefs held the loyalty of the Pygmies and their armies. The relationship is hard to find a simile for but think of them as a combination of Rangers and Praetorian Guards for the sitting Chief.)
Next the meals began as the royal families provided banana-beer, beef and goat-meat for all seven kinship groups of Tubondo. While the meals were being eaten by everyone from the aristocracy on down the ceremonies continued. Mwindo was given brides – one from his father, one from his uncle the bat god Yana and one from the Pygmies.
In the coming weeks Mwindo would pay a ceremonial visit to smaller villages subordinate to Tubondo and he would select a bride for himself from each of those villages.
At any rate the day after the Coronation of Chief Mwindo his Aunt Iyangura returned to her husband the river god, laden with gifts from her nephew. Some versions of the Mwindo Epic end with his Coronation ceremony but that leaves the story unfinished. The remainder of the story is ahead. +++
I WILL BE POSTING ADDITIONAL PARTS SOON. CHECK BACK ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK FOR UPDATES.
FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE: PART ONE OF MWINDO
FOR ANOTHER EPIC MYTH CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2013/03/17/iroquois-epic-myth-hodadeion/
FOR SIMILAR ARTICLES AND MORE OF THE TOP LISTS FROM BALLADEER’S BLOG CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/top-lists/
© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.